“I remember not knowing whether I was going to be able to race that day. I felt so emotional, I was crying. I had tears on my face and I was just thinking about just how weird the circumstances were, and just feeling how it was taken from Daniela, but it wasn’t from me.”
Susannah Scaroni had one career high in summer of 2021—she won her first two Paralympic medals, a gold and a silver, at the Tokyo Games. This past May 29, she had another, when she set the world record in the 5,000 meters for the T54 category.
In between came one of her greatest challenges. In September, she was struck by a car while training, sustaining a burst fracture in her T8 vertebrae. Treatment included a clamshell-like back brace and restricted movements, which kept her out of the fall marathon season—and had her wondering about her future in the sport.
As if that weren’t enough to make her recent record-breaking performance more emotional, the race took place at the Daniela Jutzeler Memorial meet, named for a Swiss wheelchair racer killed in a similar collision. Susannah joins us on this week’s show fresh off that incredible accomplishment, and talks through what it took to get there, the lingering effects of the crash, and how it’s changed her outlook on athletics—and life.
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